Project Lead

Professor Nicola Lautenschlager

Full Bio

Lead partner

The University of Melbourne

MACH PARTNERS

Melbourne Health; Northern Health; St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Project summary

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The interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health Services recommended that mental health practitioners should provide integrated care that promotes behaviour change and a healthy lifestyle. This project seeks to empower vulnerable older adults and mental health practitioners with strategies to implement PA guidelines. To overcome self-isolation, we will use information and communication technologies (ICT). Older Australians are highly connected (i.e. >85% internet access).

Direct engagement with vulnerable older adults will provide crucial information regarding PA knowledge, preferences, and needs. Based on this information, we will develop a flexible intervention via personalised PA prescriptions to enable behaviour change. Pilot data from a small study in Germany (Lautenschlager et al., unpublished) found that ICT is a feasible and acceptable approach to provide individualised information and support to members in the community, including older adults. We will also contribute to the current global effort to collect data on the impact of COVID-19 enforced self-isolation on mental health.

Using data from the engagement with vulnerable older adults via ICT, we will consult with opinion leaders, clinicians and academics to develop practice guidance material for mental health practitioners when promoting physical activity behaviour change via ICT.

This research addresses significant knowledge gaps on how to empower older adults with mental health problems via ICT to engage in PA. The data generated will inform future implementation research aiming to support mental health practitioners and services to use ICT when engaging with vulnerable older adults in the community.